I’m no Star Citizen apologist. I’m excited and frustrated in equal parts on the progress that Roberts Space Industry has made on the game. It’s been five years since the initial Kickstarter for Star Citizen, and after missed deadlines and the state of the game right now it can be hard not to get a little angry with Chris Roberts and the rest of the team.
The Star Citizen 3.0 alpha released to all backers at the tail end of the year, and comparing it to the previous 2.6 update, there was a lot added. Ships were cleaned up and polished, the initial cargo system was added, and three moons and various settlements made their first appearance.
A lot was missing in Star Citizen 3.0 that players were upset about. We still don’t have any of the professions added in, and the Item 2.0 system, which should allow for more in-depth customization of ships and better handling of cargo and items in general, is only implemented in its most basic form. Performance isn’t that great, NPCs are dumb and glitchy, and there’s a ton of other bugs, glitches, and missing features.
However, the game is in alpha, and the only sin the team behind it has committed is being overzealous when it comes to giving projected release dates. Star Citizen hasn’t ever claimed to be anything but an alpha, and anyone expecting more than that is setting themselves up for failure. Yeah, it sucks that the game looks really great but sometimes plays like you’re cranking the picture like an old-time kinetoscope instead of playing on a high-end PC. That’s part of the development process, though. Expecting a full, bug-free version of a game that purports itself as a work-in-progress is preposterous, and I’m not sure what people are expecting out of it.
I see players who pledged to Star Citizen and have played the many alpha builds for tens or hundreds of hours complaining about having to pay for it and how it’s taking too much time. Well, games take time to develop, and you can bet that if you tried to play a game that took a while to produce, like Final Fantasy XV, at the halfway mark, it would be a stuttery, broken mess.
Star Citizen is aiming to be unlike any other game that came before it, and comparing it to the early access period of a game like PUBG, which is a derivative of a mod for ARMA that was fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, is disingenuous. The fact is, even though it’s been tedious and frustrating, RSI has continued to show progress towards the product they promised backers (including the single-player Squadron 42).
As I said in the intro though, I’m not a rabid fanboy of Star Citizen. The second it looks like RSI is pulling something squirrely, I’ll be investigating and reporting it. For now, though, I’ll continue hopping into the alpha every few months and seeing what’s new.
If I compare the time I’ve spent zooming around, checking out all the ships, and exploring in the various alphas, I’ve already gotten my money’s worth out of Star Citizen anyway. If you’re doubtful of whether the game will be completed to your expectations, I implore you only to make the investment you’re comfortable with. However, keep in mind this is an unfinished alpha and temper your expectations accordingly.